In the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You Might Be a Redneck…” routine, I offer this comedic tool to evaluate your preaching.
Your sermon might be struggling, if…
- You say, “But I digress,” and the congregation can’t determine what you digressed from.
- A doctor in the congregation approaches the platform because he is certain your facial expressions and arm movements are a sign of internal injuries.
- A listener’s notes resemble a Van Gogh painting.
- You say, “Now we will return to the text,” and the congregation cannot recall ever being in a text.
- You have to prompt the congregation to say, “Amen.”
- Your vocal inflections unintentionally startle your audience.
- The congregation knows more about you than they know about the text, or God revealed in the text.
- The original language phrase that dominates your message doesn’t actually appear in your focal text.
- You lean over to get close to the congregation and your posture and facial expression causes a young mother on the front row to inquire instinctively, “Do you need to go potty?”
- One of the primary points of your sermon actually contradicts your primary Scripture text.
- A boy in the congregation offers to bring his dog to church next week to help you chase down those pesky rabbits.
- Two members of the congregation leave in the midst of your message because your hand gestures are mistaken for gang signs.
- Your sermon points are so loosely connected that they would make a better sermon series than a sermon.
- Your sermon points are so loosely connected that they wouldn’t even make a good sermon series.
- You say, “One more thing and we’re through,” and the faces in the congregation convey a mixture of relief and joy.
- At the conclusion of the message you ask, “What is the point of what I am saying?” and no one in the room, including you, can articulate a response.
Kristopher Barnett is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity in Biblical Languages (2001) and a Ph.D. in theology with a concentration in preaching (2008). His dissertation was A Historical/Critical Analysis of Dialogical Preaching. His undergrad work was completed at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas with a B.A. in Communication (1997).
Prior to joining the Christian studies faculty at Anderson University, Dr. Barnett served as pastor to three different churches; Forestburg Baptist Church (TX), Ridglea West Baptist Church (TX) and most recently, East Pickens Baptist Church (SC). Prior to pastoral ministry, he served as youth minister at two churches and did a youth internship at another.
Kris Barnett is the author of What Now?, a companion guide to the Bible. He is a member of the Evangelical Homiletic Society and has twice presented papers at the EHS conference (Wake Forest, NC and Birmingham, AL). Dr. Barnett enjoys filling the pulpit for local churches and serving in an interim role for churches seeking a pastor.
Dr. Barnett is married to Kelly, who is a graduate of ASU with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in psychology. They have four children, Kenzie, Karsen, Noah, and Kassie.